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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Austrian Freedom party and Pro Cologne oppose Turkish mega mosque

Left: FPO Leader Heinz Christian Strache with Pro Cologne supporters.

The Germans and Austrians may prove somewhat harder 'nuts to crack' than the Muslims had previously presumed.

Although Muslim conquerors have taken Bulgaria, Hungary, Kosovo, and Spain during different times in histoy, Austria has never fallen to the Islamists.

The Guardian reports
- The buzz of drills and whine of cranes fill the air as scores of workers in yellow hard hats scuttle around the concrete shell of a building which, even in its unfinished state, dominates the working-class Cologne district of Ehrenfeld. For the thriving local Turkish community, the sprawling complex represents the chance for an entire infrastructure under one roof – from a mosque to a hairdresser's to a travel agency.

But for others in the city the new mosque and cultural centre has provoked fears that the multimillion-euro project will do little to encourage integration and give the Turks free rein to live in their own autonomous world. The right-wing populist Pro Cologne movement has campaigned against the mosque and moved a step closer to its goal last week after joining forces with Austria's far-right Freedom party (FPO).

"Every new movement needs a unique selling point," said Bernd Schöppe, of Pro Cologne. "Ours is the mosque. If ever you needed a sign of the real threat of Islamisation in Germany, it's that mosque, with its huge dome and 55m-high minarets." Pro Cologne, a small but growing movement which recently won seats on the city council, hopes to boost its profile by associating itself with the FPO, which made its name a decade ago after sweeping to power under the leadership of the late extreme-right firebrand Jörg Haider.

This month the FPO was celebrating another feat, after securing 26% of the vote in the Vienna elections. One of its slogans urged Muslims to "go home", and among the election paraphernalia it dished out was a computer game where players score points for shooting at mosques and minarets.

"We share similar views," said Judith Wolter, Pro Cologne's deputy leader. "It's a good partnership. They need us to build a rightwing faction on the European stage ahead of the 2014 EU parliamentary elections, we need them to help us win more voters. We'd be happy to adopt their name." Read more

The blogger Diana West has an interest take on the developing situation in Germany and Austria

To access The Austrian Free Party (FPO) click here

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